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The Bulgarian Constantinople Bible was produced by Protestant translators and released in 1821.

The archimandrite Theodosius, abbot of the Bistritsa Monastery, translated the New Testament for the British and Foreign Bible Society, which was printed at London in 1828. This attempt to translate the Bible into modern Bulgarian was characterized with poor grammatical style and was greatly influenced by the Church-Slavonic version. The entire edition was sent to Saint Petersburg and is said to have been destroyed there.

An independent attempt to publish a Bulgarian translation of the New Testament occurred in 1828, as Petar Sapunov and his brother Father Serafim published a translation of the four gospels at the Bucharest metropolitan press in Wallachia (Romania). This translation was completed in the Eastern Bulgarian dialect.

In 1835 Bulgarian monk Neofit Rilski started a new translation of the New Testament. The translation was completed on April 18, 1838. The translation was done in the Bulgarian dialect from the area of Gorna Dzhumaya (present day Blagoevgrad in the region of Macedonia).In 1840 5,000 copies of the first complete translation of the New Testament were printed in Smyrna by the British and Foreign Bible Society. A second edition which was printed in Smyrna in 1850 was an almost exact reprint of the 1840 edition. A third edition followed in 1853 with 15,000 copies. The fourth edition was published in 1857 in Bucharest, and for the first time civil characters type was used. In 1859, two more editions were published. In 1866, a new “pocket” edition with text revised by Elias Riggs and Dr. Albert Long was printed in Constantinople. The New Testament was revised and reprinted a total of nine times.

In the period from 1840 to 1860 the Eastern (Tarnovo) dialect was adopted as literary Bulgarian language and the Macedonian dialect, in which the New Testament had been translated, was widely rejected. By 1858 Neofit Rilski has finished large portion of the Old Testament. Riggs met with Neofit Rilski and discussed a possible revision of the Bulgarian New Testament to remove the Macedonian dialect elements. Neofit objected the revision, so Riggs took the translation and returned to Constantinople. In January 1859 Riggs invited the Bulgarian teacher Hristodul Kostovich to help him with the revision. Riggs spent sixty years in Bulgaria.

In 1862 Long and Riggs visited the noted Bulgarian writer and poet Petko Rachov Slaveykov in Tryavna. Slaveykov agreed to help with the translation and began the work on the revising of Neofit’s New Testament at once. Long joined the revision of the New Testament into the Eastern dialect in 1863 and later assisted with the translation of the Old Testament. In June 1871, after more than 12 years of revision and translation, 36,000 copies of the complete Bible translation in Bulgarian were published in Constantinople. The translation came to be known as the Tsarigrad (Constantinople) edition. It is often called the Old Bulgarian Bible. It was revised in 1871. The Bible was produced under the auspices of the American Bible Society. At that time the American Bible Society required strict adherence to the Received Text. This is available from the Russian Bible Society.

The decision to revise and publish the Bible in the Eastern dialect was the historical factor based on which the modern Bulgarian language departed from the Macedonian dialect to adopt the Eastern/Thracian dialect. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, several organizations attempted to provide a new translation of the Bible in Bulgarian. In 1993 a Protestant New Testament was printed. A complete new Orthodox translation was published in 1995, followed by three new Protestant revisions of the Bulgarian Bible in the period of 2000-2001 by publishing houses of Veren (Faithful), Nov Chovek (New Man) and the Bible League. In 1989 a translation from the King James Bible into Bulgarian was released.

The Slavic Gospel Association is working on a new translation of the Bible in Bulgarian. It is scheduled for release in 2009. There are reports that the New Testament is based upon the Nestle-Aland.

The cult of the Jehovah's Witnesses have translated their New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures into Bulgarian.

Letter from Jeff Krontz

Missionary Jeff Krontz is working on a revision of the old Bulgarian Bible, Jeff Krontz—krontz@mwbm.org. His doctrinal statement and statement about the Textus Receptus are encouraging. Missionary Krontz writes to Phil Stringer:

“Dear Dr. Stringer, Here is the info that I have on the Bulgarian Bible and what we are doing on the translation that we are working on.

I went to Bulgaria in 2001. Before going I was informed that Bulgaria had a good Bible translation. After several months of being in the country I was confronted by a preacher in the church I was attending. He had asked for a good verse on the Trinity to give someone that he was dealing with. I told him to turn to 1 John 5:7. When he looked for the verse it was not there. I was then confronted by the missionary that said if I wanted to start trouble to get on a plane and return home. I was not needed in Bulgaria.

I began to search and look for information on a Textus Receptus translation. After several months of praying, looking and asking, I was introduced to a man that was working on several different translation projects. There was a translation done in 1871. I have a copy of this translation. It is from the Textus Receptus. The White Brotherhood, a cult in Bulgaria for many years, produced it. If you search in bookstores or on the streets where books are sold you can find an original 1871. I have searched through it and have found many verses that are there including 1 John 5:7. I am not sure if this one is the same as the 1864 that you have spoken of. It may very well be the same, just printed by two different printing houses and therefore dated differently.
I know of no other Bulgarian Bible that is from the Textus Receptus. There are several groups that have said that they produced a Textus Receptus Bulgarian Bible, but they are not doing it to a high standard. The reason that I say this is for example: “Born Again” is changed to “Born from on High” or “Born from Above.” They take out verses such as I John 5:7.They may be using the right text, but they are so critically changing things that the end result is junk. There are many different Bulgarian Bibles but none that I know that are from the Textus Receptus. Only this one that is dated 1871 (1864?).
I worked on this project with “Gospel Publishers” in Sofia, Bulgaria. I was put in touch with them through a lawyer friend. I discussed what I wanted to do in REVISING the old 1871 to be used and published today. They were very interested in the project (maybe because of the money). We took this translation and made all the alphabet changes. I fought them through this whole project to get it done. We finally finished this project in 2005. It was published, but there was still more that needed to be done. The reason for the alphabet changes was because in the 1940s the Bulgarian alphabet was changed to two different letters. So the change in the alphabet has been done. This was printed and I have copies of it.
Then another issue came up. The grammar was not correct with modern Bulgarian. So this had to be done. Also words that were used in the translation are no longer found in dictionaries. We began to work on the grammar and the words. I said that only words that have a 100% match could be changed. The rest would be left alone and a dictionary put in the back of the Bible. The grammar changes would be made without changing the integrity of the Scriptures. Well this was when the trouble began. Gospel Publishers wanted to argue on what each verse meant that was being worked on. For two years we would meet once a month and get nowhere at all. After much ado we finally got John and Romans finished. I asked two other missionaries to meet with me to go through each verse and pick out problems comparing to the King James. We found 18 problems that we wanted changed. I took them back and told them I wanted to change these 18 things. I thought that was very well with only 18 problems. They thought I was being ridiculous. So they made the changes (I thought). A few months later I needed the text to send to Bearing Precious Seed to print 295,000 copies for us so we could have a campaign. I got the files from them and sent them to Bearing Precious Seed. We campaigned in September, 2007. I and another missionary were looking through the John and Romans and none of the 18 changes were done. I was sick. I called Gospel Publishers back and told them that I was tired of all the arguing and would not be using their services any longer. I told them that I would pray until I found someone that had a burden for a good translation of the Bulgarian Bible. Until I found someone I would do no more work on the project.
Since then I was given another Bulgarian Bible that was supposed to be from the Textus Receptus, but searching through it, much was changed and verses left out. If they used the “Old Bulgarian Bible” or the 1871 those verses are there and correct.
As of now, I am still waiting to continue with the project. The changes that have to be made are not difficult changes, but I also don’t want to work on it alone or with people that do not understand the importance of the issue. I will be returning toBulgaria in Mach, 2009. I am praying I will be able to continue with this project when I return.
I know that a Bulgarian man from the United States was working on a project, but when I met with him in Sofia a few years ago he said that he was leaving the 1871 because he had been told it was not from the Textus Receptus. I told him the verses are there to verify that it is, but he was talking about using something completely off. If you google Bulgarian Bible you usually can come to his website. I can’t remember his name. Sorry.

So this is my story. I do want to continue with the project or find someone that has correctly drawn from the 1871.”

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